Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Alright, the move is official! Come visit me at my new blog!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Am I Really A Blogger?

This is the question I ask myself as I read the creative,lovely encounters of internet buddies on their blogs and wonder how in the world I am ever going to have the time to post a picture...to figure out how to steal my husband's computer for 2 seconds to edit said picture and then write about anything at.all. that is happening in our family. HOW in the world do you all do it? Seriously...discuss...impart your wisdom. One small piece on the way is the transfer of my blog to Squarespace. It rocks, I can't believe how easy and streamlined it is and since my husband works there I think its about time I make an official move. I'll post a link to the new url when I wiggle that way so you can find me. I think the ease of use will be a big push for me to update and write more....pictures et al are such a breeze on the system...holy cow.

In an effort to show affection for friends and family on the web here are some cute albeit completely unedited pictures of life in our home.

This is my baby modeling one of my necklaces...she pretty much does this daily.

And here she is painting with watercolors...that smile melts me!

Jones enjoying a morning treat, complete with the cutest pajamas ever

And happily splashing at the waterslides (oh yes, we've passed over an entire season since my last picture posts!)

Halle and Maia with our amazing friend MacKenzie at our church's 80s Dance Fundraiser

Here is a typical school day, finishing up work while I make lunch

Halle teaching Lael how to ride a scooter this summer...how cute are these sisters!

Maia enjoying the grounds at my sister in law's wedding

And finally...SNOW up at our house in the first week of October! This round has melted, another has also come and gone...but we're ready for Winter and looking forward to skiing and playing in all that white fluff....here's to a new season.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lasting oil

Scents of cinnamon and coffee grounds fill our kitchen...firelight beyond small faces wakens us in the morning time. Small hands longing to be big...ask to help.

Its simple today, toast and cinnamon, fresh peaches lugged home from the farmer's market...creamy milk. Warm and crisp slices popping and little hands pull out the butter to let it soak in and melt...its never quite right until its gooey on a morning like this.

Little hands wipe quickly across a new sweet shirt...oils stain..."Oh no Mama!"

I am disappointed, wondering how to remove the oil that is always so stubborn and so lasting, smiling all the while and trying to calm a little heart that adores being fancy. And as I kiss her little head I remember when we placed oil on her brow. The promise of dedication, an annointing to be set apart by God....a lasting promise.

And we get to good stuff today...talking about laundry and lasting stains and lasting promises and the beautiful picture of oil and butter and our God's delight in story. We smile and drink and crunch on our cinnamon toast. And the air is a little sweeter and we are all covered in crumbs.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Finding Peace

Ambleside England 1890

Taking in landscapes always relaxes me...I love drives, I love scenes, I love the stories they tell or what is happening in the hearts of God's people, of what wonders have been seen and lived and loved. I feel fresh and inspired and ready for whatever beckons after soaking in a view.

Lately, my soul has been in need of refreshing. My fuse seems short, tears bubble over and stay a while and I'm not ever quite sure why. Patterns develop with my children,I snap, I cease to listen fully, I forget to tie heart strings of fellowship that will remain long after my children age. Habits of response set in without much intention and I quickly find myself deep in a valley with only high walls around me on every side. No view. No perspective.

A dear friend spoke to me yesterday of practicing peace. Her words were so life giving, so true and struck my heart with clarity. Each moment, each response, each thought poses an opportunity, to continue further and further into a deep valley or to practice peace, to lay at the feet of our sweet Jesus the emotions, the fears, the bad habits. When we practice this in small ways, in interactions that typically cause stress, we begin to emerge victorious! I want to fight to follow the life we have been called to and in the thick of the battle the voice of our Lord whispers, " I will give. I will give you peace. I will go so far beyond your understanding and guard your heart and mind in the name of my Son." (Philippians 4:7) And so I am choosing today to believe him, to take the Lord at his word, to trust in the restoration of Christ in my anxious heart and to seek his peace today.

I have been chewing on the words of Charlotte, as usual, and still become overwhelmed with thankfullness at her writings, at the simplicity of her methods and how she has encouraged me on this homeschooling path.The picture above is a painting of her sweet Ambleside, her home and the place of her school. The view is breathtaking isn't it? I feel in so many ways that in our home, we trust in this view and the perspective of a treasured mentor. Today I am remembering to this blessing to, taking comfort and being so thankful for what is taking root in our little school.

When we first started homeschooling, one of the things that I loved, was a felt peace. I still relish in the days of learning and growing in our home, where babies can nap, training can happen in a safe shelter and minds can soak in exciting new ideas all throughout the day. We are being intentional as we hunker in, we aren't bustling, its slow and steady and the rhythm is one I cherish. We are cultivating peace here and I am so thankful for that work. I pray I can stay steadfast in this task, be faithful to this work and see it through. How easily I can become cumbered down and busy...even with wonderful things! I am praying that I will remember to count the cost, to have a wide view as I choose how to spend my time and invest my resources.

If you haven't read it already, please check out Anne's post on peace, it was so sweet, wouldn't a peaceful place like this be the sweetest addition to a home?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


It may sound incredibly clique', but summertime is so restful isn't it? I am a girl who relies on a routine...who to be quite honest can become a servant to a routine, instead of using one to meet the needs of my family. There are days in the summertime when the care-free days overwhelm me a bit...I have a hard time focusing and remembering what I am 'supposed' to be doing for the day.

The season of summer is crazy for us, we get outside lots, but its hard to see people when there is no structure, because we don't know what we are doing from day to day,so we wing it. We eat light meals and drink lots of lemonade and we simply rest. And this rest is the gift of this season, I think. I don't know if I would take the time otherwise to just 'be' with my family (remember how I NEED a schedule?). To cuddle and hike and swim or sit around until lunch time in our pajamas is pretty incredible and really not in my nature. But its here...that free flowing summer feeling and attitude, right in my living room.

This picture is right along one of our favorite beaches...

I asked the kids today if there was anything they wanted to accomplish before summer is over and they gave me quite a list! We have done lots of these things already and there are a few we need to experience in the next week, but here is our summer hit list in case you need some inspiration before Labor Day.

Spend an afternoon at Rocky Reach Dam

Bike the Loop

Play on the Secret Beach

Dinner picnic in the park

Drive in the woods

Spend a day at Lake Wenatchee

Spend an afternoon hunting tracks in the Marshlands

Walk through the Barn Beach Reserve and then play at the beach

Fourth of July Relay Races (a tradition in my parents' backyard!)

Fireworks show at Riverfront Park

BBQ with Papa and Lala (thankfully this has happened nearly once a week this summer!)

A day at Slidewaters

Spending the entire day in our pajamas and watching movies or reading stories

Having a lemonade stand

Visiting the Farmers Market

Making homemade pizza with fresh veggies

Berry picking

cherry picking or picking them up at a roadside fruit stand

Visiting the Seattle Aquarium (we busted out for a season's pass to enjoy this one all year long!)


Visiting friends at Lake Chelan

Swimming at Grandma Lily's pool

Eating popcicles for breakfast

Making s'mores

Drinking lemonade on our deck while we watch the sunset (which in July was past 9:30!)

Buying fruit and getting huckleberry ice cream from Bountiful Fruit

Hiking the ridge behind our house to check out the massive ant hill at the top

Inviting friends to dinner

Watching a movie at the drive-in theatre

Free outside play for days on end

Eating corn on the cobb

Saturday breakfasts at Cafe' Mela

And for Josh and I, enjoying afternoon dates in the month of July when my parents were off work and helped watch the children...its amazing to go out to lunch as just the 'two' of us or shop in the mid-afternoon...just heaven.

Outdoor concerts downtown

The County Fair (we are deciding on our entries as to enjoy the free exhibitor passes!)

Vacation with our dear friends

Playing endlessly in the mud

Nothing at all.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

What To Do With a Child in Kindergarten?

My cutie second child, Maia,will be beginning Kindergarten this year and I am sifting through all my resources that I used, notes I had taken and lesson plans from when our sweet Halle was a Kindergartener three years ago. For those of you just beginning homeschooling, I just want to encourage you that I am amazed and stunned at how bold I feel as I am about to teach this grade for the second time. I know I will have those hard days throughout this year, but the peace of teaching what I have already taught to another child, tweaking it to fit the personality of this one and just being more comfortable with the information myself is kind of unreal. I'm hitting my groove...(knock on wood?)

For those of you who know me well or read this blog very often, you know I am a big fan of Charlotte Mason. We use her methodolgy and principles in all the subjects we teach. We have used a little of this and a little of that curriculum, but our methods and philosophy stay the same.

Charlotte had what she called "A List of Attainments for a Child of Six" which essentially is what we want to accomplish with a Kindergartener. This list is helpful in how I organize what we do, and I add in great literature, artist and composer study, seasonal art projects, Bible and history studies. More to come on those later! I thought it would be worthwhile to post these attainments here, even accomplishing one of them can be enriching for your student and for you as a mama. I got a little giddy writing this post...bring on fall!

A List of Attainments for a Child of Six

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns

2. To recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm

3. To add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters

4. To read---what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child

We play lots of sight word games, use phonics flashcards each day and my favorite find this year is this lovely book, where Maia will actually be reading quality literature and classic stories. I think the object of teaching a young child how to read might require its own post and lots of input in the comments section!

5. To copy in print-hand from a book

We are going to be using Handwriting Without Tears and I also buy each of the children a lovely leather book to copy Scripture,poetry and pieces of literature in. There is something about the delicacy of the copybook that makes them strive to do their very best.

6. To know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows

7. To describe the boundaries of their own home

8. To describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach

For these last three attainments, we have incorporated the geography outline available at Tanglewood Education Geography has certainly become one of my favorite subjects and Josh has often commented on how much he loves our children first understanding tangibly the area they inhabit, before, or in the case of our home, in conjunction with, far off lands. They can see and smell and touch to truly experience the knowing of these geographical elements and it adds such a richness to what they imagine and learn later on.

9. To tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early American (originally, for Charlotte's students this was English history), and 3 from early Roman history.

10. To be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views.

We place drawings and descriptions dictated to mom into our nature notebooks...they have really become a treasure for us!

11. To mount in a scrapbook a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them.

We also look up the latin name of our findings. It is a simple way to begin teaching research skills and there is such reward just in the 'knowing' after searching through our field guides. We place the latin name next to the english name in our nature notebooks. This also motivates great handwriting as these books mean so much to them.
For nature notebooks, I usually purchase a simple sketchbook for each of the children, preferably with a sturdy cover. I also like for the paper to not be chinzy...and for it to be able to withstand watercolors well.

12. To do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees.

13. To know 6 birds by song, colour and shape.

14. To complete Handiwork

Ambleside Online has a wonderful section on handiwork and I have really benefitted from their reccomendations. Around here, the rule is that our crafts should be useful and benefit others. Some of the creative pursuits we have enjoyed are: knitting, baking, making stationary, a wreath at the holidays, making our advent centerpiece, candlemaking, cooking homemade playdough, baking bread and of course the list goes on and on... but we rarely keep these things in the house...its so much more fun to give them away!

15. To tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.
For a time, we didn't have any pets, so we were graciously invited to spend time with friends and family who did. On one occastion, the children were able to feed hens and roosters, hold baby chicks, collect eggs and even enjoy an omlet! We also made some serious stops at our local petting zoo to interact with and draw some of our favorite farmyard friends.

16. To name 20 common objects in Spanish (originally Charlotte wanted her students to study French,because of the close proximity of that nation to England,we study Spanish for much the same reason) and say a dozen little sentences.

We have used Lyric Language in the early years, it is very inexpensive and easy! Just a fun DVD of songs and a CD for the car or kitchen counter. Their is also a workbook included to help with Spanish copywork and labeling around the house.

17. To sing one hymn, one Spanish song, and one English song.

18. To keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations.
We are going to order a caterpillar habitat this year and watch the process in our home, in the past Halle has done this at her co-op and we have really enjoyed the butterfly conservatories at The Seattle Science Center and at Woodland Park Zoo.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


We are in Spokane this weekend enjoying all the snow and most of all some sweet friendships. My kids were just sharing with their friends the whip cream fight mom and dad had late last week...the one that ended with me being pinned down and having whip cream squirted up my nose! They were laughing so hard as they told of the joy they had witnessed between their mommy and daddy. Josh shot me a wink and I saw how pleased he was that they had remembered all the fun we had. Isn't this what its about? We are creating such special memories as a couple and for our kids. I love laughing with them.
So this weekend...my challenge is to find a way to laugh. Do something suprising or silly (like squirting whip cream down your man's shirt) and just laugh...its good for the soul and your man's heart.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Halle in her element

I've been away. I've been living and dreaming and playing...cooking and training my brood and attempting creativity as the inspiration arises. I have missed this place and my sweet friends here! I promise to be more faithful about updating...Blogging is just the first thing to go when life gets hectic and hectic is has been!

Not to be upstaged by her siblings birthday celebrations in previous posts, our Halle became an eight year old at the end of April. We are so proud of her! Here are some details about who this girl is to give you a little glimpse into her heart and mind...
~Each evening before bed our girl writes out a to-do list for the next day and then actually accomplishes all of it! She thrives on routine and schedules and could honestly probably run the show around here if I let her!
~She consumes books! It is not uncommon to find her reading an entire novel in an afternoon. And I'm talking quality novels like "Heidi" or "Stuart Little" or the orignial "Nancy Drew" books. It still blows me away!
~Halle is the family prankster...if you find yourself squirted with water,goo or are stuck to anything...Halle is probably cackling with glee somewhere nearby!
~She is Josh's official assistant on photo shoots, she carries her own SLR camera, is becoming proficient in using Photoshop and is developing her own style as a photographic artist. We are hoping this side career will help pay for college!
~Halle can cook! She loves baking and making stews and soups. She does this independently (which I never realized would happen at age 8!) and her creations taste awesome! Probably because unlike her mama, she always follows the recipes!
~She dreams of being a ballerina and loves her dance classes.
~Halle's favorite colors are purple and gold (and she informs me they always will be, even in heaven).
~Lastly...Halle reads this blog and is begging to start one of her own! I think I may just let her, as a way to journal her own homeschooling studies...I'll let you know so you can go visit!

Friday, March 27, 2009


I have no idea how to move the order of posts...but please don't miss this, the picture is just too wonderful.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Jones blowing out his Birthday Candles

Jones is three! We made merry by inviting friends to join us at the River Railway for some runs on the train, eating train cake and sporting some engineer hats and kerchiefs. This boy felt the full joy of his big day as we celebrated him and loved on him. My heart was soaring watching his delight.

Jones Calling out for his Buddies to hop on the Train...ALL ABOARD!

Corban, Jones and Noah Enjoy the Train Ride

Jones and Josh exploring the rails

I love your "moves" as you call them, when you dance around in circles and shake with a serious look of concentration. I love how you delight in serving others; how you light up when the girls go first or when you bring the baby a toy to enjoy with you. I love your giggle and the way you carry on and simply can not control your laughter when someone says 'poop'....you bring such a fun-loving tone into our home! I love that you "give knuckes" instead of high fives, that you know how to make hair bands into slingshots and that you threaten to kill the neighbors dog with your wooden sword when he barks at your sisters. I love that buying bullets for your nerf gun is your cheif concern when we are at Target and that no matter what sport you are watching you try to repeat the plays you see.
I love your curiosity and your questions..."Whatcha doing there, guys?" is heard all day long as you observe others. I am amazed at your attention span and the way you soak up great literature! Your love of school lessons in our home and the energy and attention you place on your own "work" encourages the learning culture of our home and brings a smile to my face on difficult days.
I think that the way you are learning how to be a man, by watching and following in the steps of your daddy is amazing. I love watching you model after all he does, from the pomade you put in your hair to what you dress in each day....to the way to simply relish in cleaning the garage....you always remind me that " This is a boy thing, mom."
You are eager to help and protect and I will never get tired of hearing you say "good job, mom " when I am making dinner or folding laundry. God blessed us so richly in giving us a son and in the way he made you. There was something so rich about becoming a family of five when you were born, something so settling about the way we live life together began to emerge. I am thankful for you, son... Happy Birthday.